A spokesperson for the lawyers of the second respondent in the ongoing 2020 presidential election petition at the Supreme Court, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has responded to claims that the EC chairperson Mrs Jean Mensa must enter the witness box to testify just like one of her predecessors did in 2013.
He argued that there is a major difference between how former EC Boss Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan appeared in the witness box in 2013 and what the 2020 petitioner is seeking to achieve in the ongoing petition hearing.
“The brilliance of the then running mate Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in demonstrating 11,000 pink sheets and the problems with them compelled Dr. Afari Gyan that if he did not get into the witness box, the job that he had done was going to be set aside”, he said.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah stated these yesterday, when he addressed journalists at the Supreme Court just after an application by petitioner John Dramani Mahama to reopen his case was dismissed.
He pointed out that Dr Bawumia was able to shift the burden of proof to the EC and that was why the former chair of the Commission had to mount the witness box to defend the declaration of the 2012 presidential results.
The Information Minister-designate contended that in the ongoing petition, the petitioner has not been able to shift the burden of proof and that was why he was seeking to subpoena EC Chair Mrs Mensa to make his case.
The Supreme Court ruled that there was no merit in the application and proceeded with the case without hesitation.
Ayine on predetermined agenda
A spokesperson for the legal team of former President Mahama, Dr Dominic Ayine, has said the Supreme Court’s basis for dismissing their client’s motion to reopen his case “smacks of a predetermined agenda to rule against him”.
Speaking to journalists after the court’s ruling yesterday, the former Deputy Attorney-General said, “The Supreme Court asked itself a question, which we deem as a wrong question and answered that question. It said, why does the Chairperson need to account to the people of Ghana when she’s not a party to the suit?
“Now you’ll recall that counsel (Tsatsu Tsikata) made it clear that one of the reasons we are in court is because of the unconstitutional conduct of Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa as the returning officer under the Constitution and it is not true that there is only one issue that needs to be determined in this matter”, Dr Ayine stated.
He criticised the supreme court for supposedly reducing the issues to be determined in the petition.
“I am surprised that the Supreme Court itself, having set down five key issues to be determined, is now reducing the issues to one, which is whether and extent to which the evidence that we have led, shows that no one got more than 50 per cent of the votes in accordance with article 63 of the Constitution.
“But we have made it abundantly clear in the petition that there were a number of infractions.
“We are contesting even the constitutionality of the declaration that was made. We are saying that she violated article 23 of the Constitution because she’s an administrative body.
“We have also said her exercise of discretion was contrary to article 296 of the Constitution.
“These are all germane issues under the Constitution and laws of Ghana and to reduce the petition into a single-issue petition, is rather unfortunate and smacks of a predetermined agenda to rule against the petitioner in this matter”, Dr Ayine concluded.
Unfair attack on Judges
Responding, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, has described Dr Ayine’s assertion as “unfair to the judicial system”.
“It is not fair to the judicial system, it’s not fair to our democracy, it’s not fair to the people of Ghana that when you lose an application because it is not grounded in law or because you’ve failed to meet the legal standard, then you come here and literally poison the minds of the public and make claims that they may be having a predetermined agenda. That’s scandalous of the court.
“When you make a legal argument and it is upheld, that one is good; when you make an argument and it doesn’t meet the threshold, then it means that they are wrong in law or that they have a predetermined agenda.
“The Supreme Court has not reduced the petition to a single issue. We tried our best to transcribe the ruling and we’re waiting for the written version of it. The court said that the major issue, it didn’t say there was a single issue before it…”